Pacers vs Celtics

Practice: Pacers Motivated for Friday's Tilt

April 4, 2019 - After practice on Thursday, head coach Nate McMillan and power forward Thaddeus Young talked about the fight for home-court advantage and the team's approach entering Friday's matchup with the Celtics.

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Practice: Pacers Motivated for Friday's Tilt

April 4, 2019 - After practice on Thursday, head coach Nate McMillan and power forward Thaddeus Young talked about the fight for home-court advantage and the team's approach entering Friday's matchup with the Celtics.
Apr 4, 2019  |  01:37

Game Preview: Pacers vs Celtics

Friday, April 5, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Greg Rappaport
Pacers.com Writer
@Greg_Rappaport





Last Updated: April 5 at 11:50 AM ET

Please Note: Doors will open for tonight's game at 6:30 PM ET

Matchup

Will Game 1 of the Indiana's playoff series be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse or on the road? Friday's game against the Celtics — Indiana's likely first-round opponent — will go a long way towards determining just that, with the winner of the game gaining a tremendous edge in the race for the fourth seed.

Indiana and Boston are sporting identical 47-32 records with just three games remaining in the regular season. While the teams are not technically locked into a first-round matchup, the odds are overwhelming that they will end up facing one another.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »

Their matchup last Friday in Boston was a dramatic finish that featured a game-winning layup from Kyrie Irving, giving the Celtics a 2-1 lead in the season series.

Since that game, the teams' play has mirrored each other, with both squads losing their next game then winning their next two entering Friday's nationally-televised showdown.

Offensively, the Pacers have been led by Thaddeus Young of late, who scored team highs of 19 and 21 over Indiana's last two victories.

In another positive development, Indiana's defensive prowess seems to have returned as well, with the Pacers holding the Pistons to an average of 95.5 points during their home-and-home series.

In the final three games of the season, health has become a concern for the Pacers as the starting backcourt of Darren Collison (groin) and Wesley Matthews (hamstring) has missed the last two games.

The injuries opened up playing time for rookie guard Aaron Holiday, who has brought an energetic scoring presence to the floor in his minutes, scoring 10 points on Monday and seven on Wednesday. The contributions have been critical for an Indiana team that is already in a playoff state of mind.

"Every win counts. Every game, we have to play like it's our last possession or our last game," said Young. "We have to get as many wins as possible to keep up with that four spot. We just need to continue the course and continue to play and just take it from there."

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Cory Joseph, SG - Tyreke Evans, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Celtics: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Marcus Smart, SF - Jayson Tatum, PF - Al Horford, C - Aron Baynes

Injury Report

Pacers: Darren Collison - doubtful (sore groin), Wesley Matthews - questionable (right hamstring strain), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery)

Celtics: Jaylen Brown - out (low back spasms), Marcus Morris - out (left knee soreness), Al Horford - probable (left knee soreness)

Coors Cold Hard Fact

The Indiana Pacers opened Bankers Life Fieldhouse at the beginning of the 1999-2000 season. Their first win in the new building was a 115-108 victory over the Boston Celtics on Nov. 6, 1999.

Last Meeting

March 29, 2019: In what was likely a preview of the playoffs, the Pacers fell to the Celtics 114-112 in Boston.

With 10.2 seconds left and the game tied at 112, the Celtics put the ball in the hands of Kyrie Irving, who scored the game-winning layup with 0.5 on the clock.

"Kyrie (Irving) just made a good move, great hesitation," Darren Collison said. "He made a good move."

On Indiana's last effort, the inbounds pass was tipped, and the Pacers weren't able to get a potentially game-winning shot off.

Bojan Bogdanovic finished with a team high 27 points. Thad Young added 18, and Myles Turner had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving led the way for Boston with 30 points. Al Horford scored 19, and Jaylen Brown added 16 off the bench.

Noteworthy

  • The Celtics lead the all-time series 97-79 and have won two in a row against Indiana.
  • Cory Joseph and Celtics forward Aron Baynes were teammates on the NBA champion 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs.
  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens in from Zionsville, IN, and was head coach of Butler from 2007-2013.

Tickets

The Pacers get another crack at their likely first-round opponent when Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday, April 5 at 8:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
ESPN - Mike Breen (play-by-play), Hubie Brown (analyst), Cassidy Hubbarth (sideline reporter)
Radio: 107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.

Project 44 Awareness Night

The Pacers have teamed up with the Boston Celtics for Project 44 Awareness Night. Project 44 was created in honor of the late Andrew Smith, who wore the #44 during Butler's back-to-back NCAA Finals run in 2010 and '11. Project 44's Mission is to save lives through bone marrow donation. Text 'ANDREW' to 38470 to join the registry or visit Project44.org.

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